Friday, December 11, 2009

The Hour of Reckoning has arrived

December 10, 2009
The Hour of Reckoning has arrived
By Saeed Qureshi
So the chips are down. The hour of reckoning has arrived. Pakistan’s supreme judiciary under its intrepid chief justice is hearing the status of National Reconciliation Ordinance that gave a blanket amnesty to a few thousand criminals and crooks of all brands. This event is perceptibly landmark and would form part, as indelible precedent, of not only Pakistan’s but international judicial annals for all time to come.
With a dormant parliament, the creepy lot of politicians and filth filled cabinet; people wistfully look up to media and judiciary for salvation and rescue out of a morass and a quagmire that is deepening as the precious time passes. The NRO is a classic example of the dirty machinations of the deceptive elite classes that survive like zombies by sucking the blood of their defenseless victims. An iota of shame or self respect would have been enough to drive the pardoned ruffians either to commit suicide or at least to resign till the judgment is out.
Starting from the president down to an ordinary bureaucrat, none, whatsoever, has come forward to express their remorse if not confession of crimes or to proffer a solemn or pretentious pledge to return the plundered money. One is disturbingly stunned to watch a bunch of cabinet ministers ruefully rejecting the charges of bribes that were splashed on the electronic media against them, with evidence. As if the NRO case before the apex court was a mere triviality, these cabinet stalwarts with long lashing tongues, make false promises and swear fake and phony oaths to project themselves innocents. Giving a break to the arch money lover president Zardari, his law minster is reported to pocket half a million dollars from some Pakistani traders of Dubai with a promise that their names would be erased from the NRO list.
The ‘sun god’ (mythical deity of light and heat), the inimitable minister of Water and Power; Raja Pervez Ashraf has discovered a novel way of saving energy in Pakistan that would also give him a safe cover to mint money. He has awarded to his brother in law, an incredibly mammoth yet useless contract to import luminous energy saver bulbs at a staggering cost of Rs. 6 billion. With six billion rupees, ($ 75 million) one can set up a new power plant: hydel or coal based. It’s a trail of tears that trickles down after learning the daredevil, hair raising; money grabbing adventures of the ruthless ruling cabal when the country is falling apart. Reportedly the actual price of all these bulbs is half of what is being paid by the government.
While country is breaking under the burden of religious military and mortified governance, these birds of prey know that in case of legal retribution for their black deeds, they would finally fly away to safer shores for luxuriant and joyful life. These bandit families or rogue individuals must be sternly barred from leaving the country. And those who swallowed billions in loans taken from the banks must also be forced to disgorge the money used on their glamorous and aristocratic lives while the countless ordinary folks die of hunger in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
With a tenacious and defiant countenance, president Zardari seems to emit the message that he was not cowed down by the judicial deliberations. As a president he is safe from the court’s verdict and that sooths him although the charges of corruption that are up to his scalp, unless cleared, would keep hanging around his neck till eternity, He is not in the habit of straight and fair statecraft. He budged only at the last moment when the judicial community was about to knock at federal capital’s gates in tandem with disgruntled politicians. He possesses the unrivalled yet unenviable tenacity to duck and defer the promise of transferring powers to the prime minister. He keeps on heading, simultaneously, the party and the state. He is not even bothered to issue rejoinders or rebuttals from the presidential palace. O God! did he deserve to be the president of Pakistan?
While NRO is taken up by the superior judiciary, it would be in order and rather desirable if the author and promulgator of this abominable, draconian order must also be arraigned before the justice system to spell out the rationale of issuing it. More than the beneficiaries of this ordnance, patently meant to buoy up a sinking president, the former resident is more responsible for playing with the constitutional dignity. Through NRO he has legalized the en-masse corruption not for national reconciliation but for his own survival.
It’s therefore, an elusive, rare and once in century’s moment to clean the “Augean Stables” of corruption. Upon this, depends the legal and constitutional propriety that is raison d’être to evolve a deterring bulwark against corruption and illegalities in Pakistan. Let the decision of the pinnacle court establish a phenomenal precedent and lay down a lasting cornerstone for a corruption free Pakistan. Such a magnificent breakthrough would indeed usher Pakistan into an era of constitutionalism, rule of law, stability, prosperity and equal justice to all.

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